After talking about Linux and BSD, we will in this post focus on one of the flavours of BSD; FreeBSD, a major Operating System which is used heavily by big companies such as CISCO and Juniper in their networking products. It is powerful enough to push huge amount of internet traffic around the globe. A descendent of the original Berkeley UNIX, FreeBSD continues to evolve to this day, driven by a pool of passionate developers. We have the pleasure to chat with one of the developers of FreeBSD, Mr Loganaden Velvindron, Logan, previously interviewed on this same blog. (URL: https://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/contributors/contrib-additional.html)
Can you please briefly introduce yourself?
My full name is Loganaden Velvindron, but most people tend to call me “Logan”. I work in Mauritius as a researcher for AFRINIC. In my spare time, I hack on various Open Source projects for fun. When I’m not in front of my laptop, I like to hang out with my friends and annoy people 🙂
What is FreeBSD?
An Operating System whose origin can be traced back to the original BSD Operating System developed by Berkeley University back in the 70s and 80s.
It was started to push the BSD code in a new direction: focus on PC hardware and offer an easy to use, high performance Operating System for any purpose. FreeBSD quickly became popular with ISPs, Hosting companies, and large websites such as Yahoo!
Various companies like CISCO and Juniper took large amount of FreeBSD code, and shipped it in their products which are widely deployed today in critical places on the Internet.
For a casual user, how does FreeBSD matter?
Excellent question. The casual user is an unwitting user of FreeBSD. iphones and Android contain large amount of FreeBSD code. You can see it by checking the Licenses of your phones, in the about section.
How many of you use Whatsapp? Each time you send a message on Whatsapp, your data is pushed to your friend on the receiving end by a FreeBSD machine 🙂
Apple Macbooks have become very popular as workstations, and there are a lot of people who use it due to its appealing design. Mac OS X is powered by FreeBSD, among other Open Source components. I’m a proud owner of a Mac OS X laptop 🙂
What is your contribution to FreeBSD?
I work on improving OpenSSH security by taking advantage of security technologies available on FreeBSD. Lately, I’ve extended that to tcpdump and ngrep, which are popular tools for a lot of FreeBSD users. The work on ngrep was made possible thanks to a donation from Media Spin Ltd, via Mr Ajay Ramjatan. Media Spin is a leading vendor of FreeBSD in Mauritius, and they are doing an awesome job at contributing to FreeBSD evolution. I wish other companies would be as innovative as them 🙂
Apart from that, I also improve IPv6 security and robustness on FreeBSD. Whenever I see a bug, I feel compelled to slay the monster using my sword 🙂
Another company, Eland Systems, offer various facilities to help me hack on FreeBSD. Big thanks to them !
What motivates you besides the intellectual challenge?
For me, it’s about having fun while solving the problem ! I was always inquisitive about how things work 😉 It’s great to be part of a large group of developers throughout the world. We have fun almost everyday. We share jokes among ourselves, while working on making the world a better place. It’s very exciting ! I don’t want to sound rude, but a lot of IT companies in Mauritius are not able to make their staff happy.
The larger the company, the less you find people interested in their jobs. It’s different if you look at the companies that fund FreeBSD development. Juniper is rated as one of the best employers in the world, and their staff are making wonderful code which is shipped in FreeBSD, on top of making great networking gear. It’s amazing how a consortium of large Companies are able to contribute to FreeBSD, while maintaining their competitive advantage and their staff motivated and happy.
I believe that several large IT companies should try to adapt their internal processes to be closer an Open Source company. That would drive up their profits, and increase the staff motivation. Maybe I should offer my services as an Enterprise Open Source consultant 🙂